04 Aug 2020

Effective carbon communications can make a big impact

Posted in: Communicating sustainability

Effective carbon communications can make a big impact

In the final part of this series we look at how effective carbon communications can make a big impact in driving change.

Communicating what you are doing and how you are doing it will enhance your brand and challenge other organisations to reduce emissions. This can create a groundswell of interest and extend the influence that you have on climate mitigation far beyond your own organisation and your customers.

Communicating carbon can influence policy

Black and white photo of the New Zealand Parliament

Businesses who are actively involved in carbon reduction are uniquely placed to provide leadership to drive high-level change. When they join together through initiatives like the Climate Leaders Coalition they can have a significant influence over politicians and policymakers. Communications on the importance of carbon reduction and advocacy from the business community was an important factor in gaining bipartisan support for the Government’s Zero Carbon Bill and helping to ensure it will be an enduring piece of legislation.

Communicating carbon can influence other businesses

Toitū family of certified organisation at a networking event

Communicating your carbon reduction policies or initiatives can also influence your supply chain and ensure others get on board the same journey. The Warehouse Group have been working with their suppliers on ensuring that packing of products aligns to Sustainable Packaging Guidelines. They also plan to have sustainability events for small-medium enterprises to explore how to introduce cost-savings and environmental improvement initiatives into businesses. Westpac New Zealand have also developed a case study to help inspire other businesses to get on board a carbon reduction journey.

Communicating carbon can influence customers

Consumer making buying decision based on sustainability claims

The majority of New Zealanders are concerned about climate change. Communicating emissions reporting and carbon reduction initiatives gives consumers the tools to make informed decisions about the businesses they use and the products they buy. Promoting your environmental plans and achievements can help consumer choice and raise sustainability literacy – enabling consumers to question other organisations about their actions. Wellington Zoo are a great example of an ongoing sustainability dialogue with their patrons. They not only talk about their own work on their organisation, but how they can enable customers to make the right choices.

Communicating carbon can influence your own business

OCS team celebrating their Toitū carbonzero certification

The long-term financial stability and sustainability of a company depends on its response to climate change. Directors and senior management have a crucial role in shaping their organisational response for the better so ensure carbon becomes a permanent part of the conversation.

Directors and senior management, through their strategic focus, can set a course that will put their organisation ahead of the game or lock it in to an inefficient and costly future. The types of vehicles that are purchased, the kind of investment that is made in new energy efficient buildings and the move towards carbon certification are just some examples of how an organisation’s carbon future can be positively influenced by the long-term strategic decisions made at board level. SkyCITY is a great example of where Directors and senior management are strong advocates for their carbon reduction commitments, which in turn, is creating a robust culture of environmental stewardship.

Credibility through certification

Toitū carbonzero and carbonreduce certification programme marks

If you are making a commitment to reduce your organisation’s carbon footprint then measuring that through a certification scheme such as Toitū Envirocare’s carbonreduce or carbonzero provides you with the certainty and credibility to be a leader within your industry and confidently communicate the virtues of environmental stewardship.

Once you have achieved certification make sure you leverage off that as much as you can – share the certification on social media and provide regular updates on your progress. Tag Toitū and we will make sure we share your posts across our networks. It is also a good idea to embed the certification brandmarks into your brand identity by using it on stationary, packaging, business cards, email signatures and other collateral.

If you are not quite ready for certification then Toitū provides custom support to help organisations set and achieve science-based emissions reduction targets. We can also help you with advice on how to best communicate your progress against these targets and provide the kind of environmental leadership that will influence others.

Don’t forget to read the first (the ‘why’) and second (the ‘how’) parts in this comms focus series.

For the latest in carbon best practice stories, news, views and events,

Subscribe to Mailing List